November 28, 2019

Weekend Recap: Thanksgiving with Mom!

Weekend of November 22-24

This was an exhausting week of work; I was at the office past 9pm most nights, and then delivered an all-day workshop on Friday which just took a lot of my mental energy. But when I flew home Friday night, it was knowing that my mom was waiting at the Denver Airport for me – she’s visiting for ten days!

I have to say, it took every ounce of my willpower not to have a glass of wine in flight. I almost never drink in flight, but I desperately wanted wine! However, I held out till I could get home and enjoy it with my mom, and I was glad I did. As soon as we got to my house, we both changed into comfy pajamas, popped a bottle of chardonnay, and then cozied up on the couch to watch The Big Wedding. We always love Diane Keaton movies, and I hadn’t heard of this before but ended up loving it! An all-star cast (Robert DeNiro, Katherine Heigl, Susan Sarandon, Amanda Seyfried, Robin Williams, Christine Ebersole… serious star power!) and a funny / touching story… I would definitely recommend it.

Saturday morning, Mom and I headed to Chuze, where she graciously put up with me doing both a 40 minute swim and a 30 minute run. And not only did she not mind staying at the gym for a while, she came into the pool area and took some videos of me doing laps! When I first decided I wanted to try a tri, my friend Kirk made me promise to video my swim and send to him so he could laugh (and give me pointers); finally, I was able to do so. Kirk is on a big amazing European adventure right now, so I won’t get his feedback for a bit, but several people on Instagram offered up suggestions, and I was comforted to hear that my form isn’t quite as bad as I think it is 🙂

But since we had gone to Chuze a bit later in the morning than usual, about halfway through, the pool started filling up… and soon I had to share a lane. (I know, it’s insanely lucky that I haven’t had to do that yet.) I can’t say that I enjoyed the extra waves / being so close to someone else, but I also didn’t panic doing it. Not quite as meditative, but still not bad. I know I am in for a rude awakening when it comes time for me to do an open water swim in a race with tons of other people, but this made me at least feel like I’m not going to freak out.

After the swim, I quickly rinsed off and changed, and then hit the treadmill. For the first time in months, I was allowed to go for 30 minutes!! Still doing intervals of 2 minute run, 1 minute walk, but I was thrilled. No real pain during my run (a two second twinge about five minutes in that then went away and didn’t resurface), and it felt easy and comfortable – I wished I could go longer. At some point, I’ll have to start shifting my intervals to run more and get rid of the walk breaks, but it’s kind of nice to never have to worry about more than two minutes of running at a time. And, I covered 3.24 miles in the 30 minutes I was on the treadmill – which felt like a huge accomplishment to do a whole 5K!

I hit the hydromassage for a bit after, then mom and I made the rounds of two different grocery stores. It was time to start prepping for Thanksgiving!

I’ve updated my Thanksgiving spreadsheet quite a bit over the years, but you can learn about the gist of it here. According to this year’s timeline (now updated with a few new recipes), I needed to make the desserts the day before – that meant this gluten-free orange almond cake (which I had at Sarah’s Friendsgiving the week before and declared the best cake I’ve ever had) and my traditional caramel pumpkin gingersnap cheesecake. The orange almond cake required a lot of boiling the oranges (next time I’ll try one commenter’s tip to cook them in the microwave for 15 minutes), but the rest of making both of the cakes was really easy.

Sneak preview of my dessert plate at dinner: caramel pumpkin gingersnap cheesecake, cranberry sauce, and orange almond cake. Plus a healthy glass of port (or three).

So then after a bit of time to relax at home, my mom and I were off to see the Colorado Symphony downtown!

Isn’t Boettcher Hall beautiful? I love going to concerts there!

I had picked up tickets to the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, but was disappointed to discover when we got there that the evening was going to be a mix of pieces – Verdi’s La Forza del Destino (beautiful!), the aforementioned Tchaikovsky (lovely!), and Jennifer Higdon’s Concerto for Orchestra. Unfortunately, I really hated that last one – and it was five movements that took up half the concert.

To quote music critic Andrew Clements, I found it “American contemporary music at its most vacuous, a noisy mishmash of early 20th-century styles”. I didn’t understand why the Symphony had put this in a “classics” program of Tchaikovsky and Verdi – the two seemed to me to appeal to a very different audience than one that would appreciate the Higdon piece.

On the bright side, we still had a lovely night out!

The next morning, I was up bright and early – I wanted to go for my longest spinning ride yet. I ended up doing two hours on the bike, and was really proud of myself for doing it! I did three classes back to back (I wish there was a way to make a queue so you don’t have to break to search for your next class), and the time went by surprisingly fast. I tried a bunch of new-to-me formats – figuring since I was doing several classes at once, it was a good day to experiment, when I wouldn’t be bummed all day if I didn’t like one.

I started with a 60 minute “Football Pregame Ride” with Jenn Sherman. I am not a big football fan, but the music Jenn picked was awesome and inspiring, and I didn’t mind the football commentary. I recently rediscovered Jenn (I used to take her Flywheel classes) and now she is in my rotation of favorite instructors; this ride was no exception! Lots of good hills / intervals, but nothing gimmicky; just a solid ride.

Next up, I flipped over to try the Jess King Experience I’ve seen so many people rave about. But all I could think the whole time was… WTF?? Is this some sort of inside joke to trick newbies into taking this class?? Or was I supposed to be on drugs when I rode?? This was the most bizarre thing I have ever seen and the whole thing just felt like some kind of parody. I did like seeing the other instructors in the studio, and would love to see that in other classes, but I also couldn’t imagine how Jess got them to agree to do this wacko class (did Peloton pay them A LOT to show up?). I will definitely not be taking a JKE again.

Finally, I ended with a Cody Rigsby Groove Ride. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. I wished he had done a better job cueing the dance section at the end… sometimes when he’d say “hold for X” he meant X counts, other times he meant X number of 8-counts, which was kind of confusing. But I still got my heart rate decently up, and I was tired by then anyway, so didn’t need TOO much of a challenge.

I finished up my Turkey Day workout with a quick ten minute run to practice going from biking to running, and it felt good 🙂 I am so happy to be able to run even for just 10-20 minutes at a time, and looking forward to progressing to more soon!

After my workout, I had some time to clean up, run errands, and relax, and then at 3pm, it was time to start cooking. The first hour or so was pretty intense (lots of chopping and dicing and frantically trying to do too many things at once), and I had to enlist my mom’s help to set the table when I didn’t get to it at the appointed time. But then my task list got really easy, and for the last two hours, I found myself ahead of schedule and without much to do. That’s a nice change from years past, where I’ve been still running like crazy when guests arrive! Each year, my timeline gets a little better, but this year’s was pretty darn good.

The full roster of what I cooked: Cranberry sauce, turkey, gravy, wild rice, parmesan pomegranate brussel sprouts salad, cornbread, green bean casserole, sage and onion stuffing, cauliflower mashed potatoes, honey orange carrots, coconut creamed corn, and of course, the aforementioned desserts.

In all, it was a wonderful night with friends and family… and a lot of port wine that my friend Chris brought 🙂 I feel so lucky to have met so many wonderful people in Colorado who come together like family! And it was really nice to do my own Thanksgiving early, so I didn’t have any holiday stress the rest of the week. Now, we can just hide out at my house and stay warm despite the giant snowstorm coming our way 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

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